Ok, Gossip Girl. Let’s face it, all of the characters are trash. Genuinely awful. The worst. They make countless horrendous decisions, turn against everyone they love, sabotage their best friends in genuinely terrible ways, and we absolutely love it. I can never decide whether I love to hate this show, or hate to love it, but either way, it has been an absolute staple throughout my adolescent years, and I find immense enjoyment in living vicariously through these unrealistically attractive, filthy rich, abhorrent upper east siders. Having watched all 6 seasons front to back (all 85ish glorious hours), near 5 or 6 times, it’s safe to say I have opinions. Here’s a list of all of the characters that actually had some sort of lasting impact on the show (@ all of the random love interests/filler friends that continually cropped up throughout all 121 episodes, you’re canceled), ranking them from genuine garbage to kind of ok. Also, spoilers.
23. Bart Bass – What??? Literally the wildest plot-line of possibly any GG character. Basically enters Disney villain territory in season 6. Also the whole season 5 ‘I’m going to return from literal death to go to an illegal brothel event run by a crazy lady who I’m also going to pretend is my son’s real mother thing’ – garbage. Sleazy, cheater, felon, hires hitmen, terrible father, not a fan.
22. Dan Humphrey – This boy is awful. Everything starts off great, cute floppy hair, really nice big brother, cute little relationship with Serena. Then boom, he is suddenly a literal train wreck. ‘Blah Blah Blah I’m from Brooklyn, I’m an outsider, no one accepts me, my life is so hard’ – Dan Humphrey at all times always, he even writes a book about it (after having dated the girl of his dreams, been best friends with Nate Archibald, been more popular than the Blair Waldorf at NYU and moved into a massive upper east side penthouse – ok queen). Also, the ‘big reveal’ – awful. I have no respect for this man after he ruined everyone’s lives (including his own) over and over again for 6 years. Weirdo.
21. Prince Louis Grimaldi – Nope. Crazy sister, mean mother, awful human. Tried to force Blair into staying with him for a year with that weird dowry plot-line, paid chucks therapist to get information to stop Blairs feelings for him. Was cute for a bit. Isn’t Chuck Bass, next.
20. Charlie Rhodes – Could have been so much more interesting. Shame, really.
19. Vanessa Abrams – Bit strange, kind of annoying, teams up with random boring people to convert Dan back to his tortured artist from Brooklyn aesthetic, fails miserably. Awful fashion sense, but bless her she kind of tries. Also, her annoying sense of moral superiority makes anything past Season 1 kind of unbearable. I was glad when she moved to Spain xoxo.
18. Lily van der Woodsen/Bass/Humphrey – Really queen? Drama, drama, drama with this one. She lacks any parenting skill whatsoever, has a very confusing romantic plot-line, and is kind of problematic on the whole. Still, she is ultimately the only person on the Upper East Side to rock a chignon bun that well, so credit is given where it’s due.
17. NYU minions/ Columbia minions – Honestly I can’t remember which ones are which. I think one of the squads has the O.G minion Penelope in though, so that deserves some recognition.
16. Rufus Humphrey – Ok, some of you may disagree, but Rufus is a wreck. Sure, he’s very endearing and generally behaves appropriately and always means well, but he is possibly one of the worst parents on the show. He let his whole ‘I’m a cool Dad’ vibe override any attempts to actually parent, let Jenny roam the streets of New York at 14 then stopped her from attending her job, which she was actually good at and may have kept her out of trouble for a bit… shocking. Also, how does he afford that gorgeous loft conversion and put his two children through private school when his primary source of income is an art gallery that apparently only sells paintings to Lily Humphrey? We will never know.
15. Ivy Dickens – Ok so a LOT of people hate her, but I can’t help but pity her. She didn’t want to act all wild and accidentally ruin all the lives of the van der Woodsen clan, it just sort of happened. Plus, her tragic backstory kind of makes the lengths she went to as Carol’s fake daughter acceptable. Also, she managed to finesse a whole estate out of befriending CeCe, so props to her for that I guess (despite the morally dubious circumstances).
14. The Constance minions – I love this lot. Icons from day one, an integral part of the Gossip Girl golden era, and absolutely banging fashion sense. This group, of Kati, Izzy, Penelope and Hazel (and later the legend Nelly Yuki herself) are genuinely horrendous to everyone around them, and actually kind of awful in nearly every way, but I gotta respect their expert use of yogurt as a weapon.
13. Jonathan Whitney – Honestly I know he’s really not that relevant, but he’s such a cutie. Possibly the only normal character on the entire show, he absolutely opts out of the Upper East Side drama and I’ve got to give him credit for it. Was a shame when he broke Eric’s heart though, they were adorable together.
12/11. Roman Garrel and Harold Waldorf – These two are genuine angels. I personally want to bake pies with Harold and want Roman to decorate me a flawless Audrey Hepburn room in a French chateau. One of the only examples of Good Parenting™ on the show.
10. Cyrus Rose – f l a w l e s s. This man is honestly an absolute angel, he could do no wrong, he is perfect for Eleanor and I love him with all my heart, enough said.
9. Eleanor Waldorf – Questionable parenting at the start I’m not going to lie, but boy does she grow on you. Avoids all the awful parental drama that occurs (*cough cough* Rufus and Lily) and her relationship with Blair is so great by the end. Superb stuff.
6. Chuck Bass – He is genuinely horrific until Blair. Then it’s adorable. Then he gets awful again, then Blair. Then he suddenly becomes mature, kind, developed and morally sound, and gets a dog. It’s unprecedented but impressive. I would put him higher, but some of his actions are unforgivable and I can’t excuse them.
7. Serena van der Woodsen – Kind of boring, but she’s Serena, so has to make top 10. Has an awful moment of pretending to be GG in Season 5, makes an awful decision in Season 6 and ends up with Dan (absolute weirdo) and overall is kind of uninteresting. Her whole ‘it girl’ persona gets very jarring, and she seems to lack good morals and judgment on the whole, but we see some semi-lovely moments of friendship between her and Blair (when they aren’t stabbing each other in the back) and also, she is Serena so she deserves this place I think.
6. Jenny Humphrey – Unpopular Opinion: I love her. Sure, she’s kind of terrible to everyone around her for elongated periods of time, especially that time she systematically bullied her stepbrother, but she actually starts off and turns out ok, she just needed to ‘find herself’ in the middle, right? Also, she is a bit of a legend for launching her own fashion line in
5. Georgina Sparks – a legend. I love this girl, she’s so problematic it’s hilarious. Sure, she causes many many problems for our main characters throughout, but don’t they all kind of deserve it? Witty one-liners, terrific sunglasses collection, and every time the plot is getting dry, she’s always ready to deliver the absolute MOST drama. Love it.
4. Eric van der Woodsen – Unproblematic fave. Sure he has a little moral blip somewhere in the middle, but generally, he is extremely sane, avoids the drama, and actually has the thought process of a normal human being. It’s really a shame the writers ran out of plots for him because he truly is a gem.
3. Nate Archibald – Adorably dim-witted, kind and actually quite righteous. He never sent one tip into Gossip Girl and generally doesn’t cause too many problems. However, it does irritate me how he somehow manages to get everything in life to work for him, including a perfect career with absolutely no experience. I guess that’s what happens to attractive, rich, white men on the Upper East Side…
2. Blair Waldorf – Of course, she’s Queen B. she’s driven, independent, and gets what she sets out to do done. Sure she’s scheming and manipulative, but she grows into a wonderful young woman, able to navigate the world by herself, constantly rejecting men (Chuck Bass) so she can further her career and her self independently, and I give her absolute credit for that. Also, she owned up to being a horrific character at points, whereas most others (Serena van der Woodsen) did not.
1. Dorota Kishlovsky – THE REAL QUEEN OF GOSSIP GIRL. She makes the show. Her relationship with Vanya = adorable. Her children = adorable. Her sense of humour is impeccable, her style is flawless and she and Blair are the most iconic duo in the show (this is non-negotiable). She always does what’s best for Blair and always has brilliant advice, but I’m lowkey going to be forever sad she wasn’t Gossip Girl.
In all seriousness, while this show was an integral part of my adolescence, it is awful. The characters are terrible, the plots are absolutely ridiculous and there is very little that any of us should take as model behaviour. However, we can’t help but have it as a little guilty pleasure and that’s ok too. I am painfully aware of how trashy and awful it is, and as I watch it, I can’t help but roll my eyes at every immoral, misogynistic or generally idiotic element. But I’m aware it’s trash, and with that knowledge, I can still enjoy it in all its awful glory.